Today our gang headed off to Turtle Beach (Galgibag) which is two bays south of Patnem. Not all of us. Poor Dave had to stay back in Patnem to write an essay for his upcoming exams, and Joe had booked another massage at LaLa Land.
We travelled in a fleet of 4 tuk tuks. Its a lovely drive: a long loop around the river to get to a tiny one-track bridge crossing. It is literally just wide enough to take a single car or a tuk tuk with little room to spare, but with fabulous views on both sides. The road then runs along the river to the sea and then parallels the sea behind Talpona Beach and the Turtle Beach. So green and verdant, very peaceful still, despite the building of the motorway much too nearby.
We walked up to the beach at Suria’s Café, nestled in the pine trees behind the beach. Because it is a turtle beach, no structure or manmade item of any kind is allowed on the beach, no sun loungers or chairs…. Suria’s is the original shack. He serves an amazing array of seafood, either caught by the tiny fishing hamlet or raised in the saltwater lagoon that is behind the beach. Gordon Ramsay has apparently eaten there on his series about India. We have visited many times. As soon as we get there we ask him to put some Sula Sauvignon Blanc into the fridge.
Having accomplished that, and had a bit of breakfast we walked south along the beach to the “lagoon”. This is actually the spot where the offshoot of the Talpona River which creates the saltwater lagoon meets the sea. It is partially closed off by rocks, and at low tide a sandbar completes the process. At all states of the tide it is an idyllically calm place to swim and wallow. Turtle Beach itself is an enormous swathe of white sand but as it faces right on to the ocean, swimming is really for strong swimmers and surfers only.
We spent several hours at the lagoon, just lying on the sand or in the shallow water and then made our way back to Suria’s for lunch at 1. He offered us two lobsters for £15 for the two, and we also had plates of rawa fried oysters, Goan style calamari (utterly yum), special potato chips, salad, Goan style prawns, veg curry and breads. We were stuffed. Oh, and 3 bottles of icy sauvignon blanc…… It came to about a tenner a head for those of us that shared the two lobsters and the 3 bottles and we literally could not have eaten anymore.
Daisy took to a hammock and had a nice nap. We came back to Patnem at 3 and Daisy and I went down to Salida. Met Joe and had some tea and a good chat and then wandered up the beach to Papaya where Joe had a beer and Daisy and I had iced coffees with rum and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. That just about finished me for the day, I can tell you.
Tonight we ate in the hotel. It was Joe’s last night and we had a lovely dinner all together with much laughter. The hotel restaurant surpassed itself with the food and even sent out two amuse bouche courses foc. Joe’s taxi arrived at 1015 and we sadly bid him farewell till we see him again in London. He is in so much better health than when he arrived: cough and flu residue gone; a little weight gain and a healthy tan. Ready for British spring time when it arrives. We will miss him.